Skip to main content

About this Show

European Journal

Spain Says Adios to the Siesta Adios to the Siesta The Spanish tradition of taking a siesta goes back centuries - but now the lengthy post-lunch break is being questioned in the crisis-hit country. The idea now is for staff to work a full afternoon to ge

NETWORK

DURATION
00:30:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Off-Air Channel 43

TUNER
Channel 43 (647 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Europe 4, Belgium 3, Us 3, France 2, Spain 2, Vasily 1, Carlos 1, Alexander 1, Mathilde 1, Mahatma Gandhi 1, Roma 1, Nap 1, United States 1, Indians 1, Nicholas Ii 1, Spade 1, Dr. Jane 1, Indiana 1, Heaven 1, Warsaw 1,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  KCSMMHZ    European Journal    Spain Says Adios to the Siesta Adios to the Siesta The  
   Spanish tradition of taking a siesta goes back centuries - but...  

    December 25, 2012
    2:00 - 2:30am PST  

2:00am
>> just a few days until christmas, and europe, as elsewhere in the world, it is a time for peaceful contemplation with family or close friends. a very warm welcome to this special edition of "european journal" from belgium. christmas is a few days for rest where we find time for leisure, which has almost become a luxury good, but we will try to find it in today's show. that's why we have come to the flemish part of belgium. it is all-bishops town famous for tower bells, and when the time, it is a good opportunity
2:01am
to pause for a moment. >> the music of bells. the master coaxes melodia sounds from the musical instrument. high above the roofs of the town. >> for me, bell music is the connection between everyday life and spiritual life. it does not have to be religious, but there is definitely something spiritual about playing here. >> even as a child, he loved the sound of bells. the musician says it makes him dream, and for more than 30 years, he has been living that dream. >> it is a very social and communicated instrument. all the people in the town can hear it, and they cannot avoid it. it is a bit dictatorial. that is why you have to give
2:02am
your best, so as to win over the public. >> if you realize that there is a real live bell rang up in the cathedral tower, but locals and tourists alike are all captivated by his music. >> the music is magical. it makes you look forward to christmas. it is beautiful. >> i live just 50 meters away from the cathedral, so i hear this every day, morning and evening. the music of the bells gives a special touch to the city. >> this small belgian city -- world famous. its landmarks are its churches. eight of them within less than 3 square kilometers. most of them are centuries old.
2:03am
two churches have their own carrion's. he sees himself as a kind of fortunate custodian of the city. >> i find it really inspiring that my instrument is housed in such a beautiful historic buildings. from the towers, i have a wonderful view. i can see what is going on below, and that is really inspiring. >> of the city is proud of its bills. the royal carry on school was founded here in 1922. students from around the world, both professionals and gifted amateurs, come here to perfect their performance.
2:04am
>> here, it is the feeling that counts. i am from the netherlands where the written is more important, but here, they listen to the sound. and at eddie gets its pick of the most talented pupils. it takes years for the students to earn a diploma that entitles them to play in public. playing carry on, require silence, says eddie. he finds it in the attic of his home this is where he comes to compose. >> this is where i find peace and informational -- inspiration. it is a very old house with old, wooden beams. it has a great view of the city churches and in view of the cathedral where the bells are. >> he takes the time to gather
2:05am
energy before he is back making music in the bell tower for the whole city to hear. >> if you want to explore european history, this is the place to go. this statue here -- that is margaret of austria. she resided here back in the early 16th century and married the spanish air to the throne. that is why the country that we know as belgium today became spanish for a while. the spanish soldiers and officers never really liked it here. they were seen as conquerors. northern europe was just too cold for them, and life was too hectic. and the people here did not do the siesta -- the nap after lunch, and that is a ritual that was important in spain back then, and it still is today. >> the cattle trader from spain
2:06am
gets up early in the morning and does not come home again until late. between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m., he takes an afternoon nap, a siesta. >> i need these one-and-a-half hours after lunch. if i do not sleep, i do not feel well. then i do not enjoy work, and i am just not myself. >> the long spanish siesta still exists, even in bustling major cities. many businesses still shut at 1:30 in the afternoon and open again at 5:00 p.m. carlows also uses that break for a nap, for now at least. -- carlos. >> i think soon we will have to stay open after lunch. this is a tourist area.
2:07am
we have to stay open because it is customer friendly even though a lot of people are against it. but business is business. >> to make sure tourists in particular are not faced with shuttered doors, the spanish government has changed laws regarding business hours. it wants visitors to the crisis- ridden country to have more time to spend money -- 90 hours a week instead of 72. >> it should help encourage trade and create more jobs in the sector. >> but the plans are threatening the siesta. the tradition of the lengthy break to unwind and relax is being sacrificed to the demands of the market. the spanish siesta was introduced in response to extreme working conditions. during the post-war period, it was not just the afternoon heat that force people to take a break.
2:08am
>> a lot of people had to take on two jobs at the same time. it was the only way to divide up the day so that you rested not just at night, but also had a break during the day. >> and health-care professionals say it is still a good idea. they recommend a 20-minute midday nap. they say it makes a difference at night. than a 10% of insomnia cases are chronic, and they are usually caused by work. we over lows hour days to the point where we no longer sleep well. we do not give ourselves break, and when we need more time, we take it from sleeping hours rather than from working hours. >> but some companies are ignoring the longer working day laws and have positively embraced the siesta with in their business models.
2:09am
the employees at this software company are encouraged to take a short play break or a nap whenever they like, but despite innovative models like this, the sea as that appears to be on the way out. now more than ever, businesses expect more from their employees. soviet is a human resources manager and has seen the economic crisis increasingly used as an excuse for a harsher management style. >> companies that used to present themselves as employee- friendly for puerto rico reasons or because their rivals were doing it as well are abandoning these personnel policies now. >> this cattle trader is lucky. like his father before him, he can take his daily siesta, but he knows it is a privilege he could lose any time in the
2:10am
current economic climate. even his business sector is starting to feel the pinch. >> this hotel used to be a franciscan church. the altar is now in the breakfast room. during christmas, big crowds of people in europe still flock here to attend mass, but otherwise, the number of regular worshipers is on the decline. church buildings all over europe are being given new purposes, but empty church seats do not necessarily mean that there is no longer spirituality. more and more germans, for instance, look far east to bring body and soul in balance. >> salute to the sun -- one of the best known yoga exercises. he was just five years old when he learned his first yoga postures from mahatma gandhi himself. he spent decades teaching yoga
2:11am
in berlin showing people how they can bring body, mind, and spirit into harmony. >> when we do you get two or three times a week, we can bring out the body's pure values. that is why people today are fixated on yoga. there is a yoga boom because people think whoever does not do yoga is lost. >> of course, dr. jane does not allow anyone to get lost. he sings a mantra to his students who are training as yoga instructors as part of and meditation. everyone is meant to relax before they begin sequences. >> it is good for the body. i find that it gives structure to everyday life. >> one in three germans suffers
2:12am
from constant stress. the pace of life is continually increasing, and many have difficulty finding time to unwind, so for a lot of people, you get seems like a perfect antidote. some 5 million germans practice yoga, and some 20,000 have completed training as yoga instructors. and those numbers are increasing. the yogurt business is huge. -- the yoga business is huge. there are many different styles of yoga, but this one is the hottest trend at the moment -- quite literally. practitioners do their exercises in a room he did to nearly 41 degrees celsius. the practice comes from the united states, and adherence -- adherents really work up a
2:13am
sweat. there is no meditation, no enlightenment. practitioners are simply to be fit and healthy. the best should take care of itself. >> the fact that you have to concentrate on even being able to carry out depots automatically means that you have to shut off your mind. you cannot broods over daily problems while you are standing on one leg and doing a yoga postures. >> those who do who cannot switch off often end up doing it wrong. >> if you are too ambitious and want to do too much, maybe more than your body is capable of, but you still need to get into the post somehow, you can definitely hurt yourself. >> this doctor is familiar with cases like that. he treats those who have overdone things in yoga, but he helps patients whose movements had been tendered as a result of other injuries as well.
2:14am
the berlin-based orthopedist applies the indiana teachings as an essential part of his therapy. >> especially with trauma, weather it is an injury to the wrist, emotional trauma, or a pulled muscle, yoga can help you to stay relaxed. when it is carefully applied for each individual case, you can practice so that you regain your strength and thus he'll -- heal. >> he is proof of one thing -- you can still be very flexible and healthy at the age of 75. he credits that two decades of yoga. >> the dream of leaving life in the city behind and living close to nature is, for some, as important as people's hunger for religion and spirituality. out there, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city,
2:15am
you feel close to nature. you have time and no clocks. you feel you have become part of the natural cycle. today, there are still hermits who choose to live in solitude. one man in northeastern poland moved to the forests where he created his own world.
2:16am
>> 20 years ago, christoph, now 60, decided to live in nature. in a 600 square kilometer national park on the belarussian border. >> nothing happens here. life is quieter and more stable than in the city. it is life for the sake of life. i love living here. i hope i will make it to 100. i try to get a little closer to nature every day. eventually nature will swallow me up, and i will merge with it, and i will be here forever. >> the former used bookstore manager from warsaw is now a hermit, an eccentric, a human who loves nature above all else. he and his 22 dogs have taken up
2:17am
residence in an old cat and on the edge of the forest. his nearest neighbors are several kilometers away. he is a keen collector of simple folk art, but his real passion is monotony. >> monotony is my passion. i love monotony. i liked the monotonous. i live monotonously. i do not know if it is really the monotony. maybe it is the experience of being alone with nature. to me, it is a kind of lifestyle. >> it is 12 degrees celsius in his cabin, but only after he has fired up his would burner.
2:18am
we are his first visitors for over a week, and to celebrate the occasion, he cranks up his gramophone. >> if i went out into the woods right now and got eaten by the wolves, i would be happy. that is the circle of nature. i hate the idea of being buried in cemeteries. i want to die in the forest. i have bought a spade so when i am about to die, i will go out and bury myself. that is my plan. >> but if he lives to be 100, he's got some time to go yet. the afternoon is elk-spotting time. they are shy, but we're lucky to have the best tracker in poland with us. he calls the forest the elk's bedroom. within 20 minutes, we are standing face to face with a
2:19am
one. it is amazing. >> that is a mother elk and her daughter. i have christened her mathilde in honor of czar nicholas ii, who fell in love with mathilde in the 19th century. she was a dancer in the st. petersburg theater and ravishingly beautiful, and this elk is, too. >> when he feels the need for some spiritual support, he tram's out through the snow and woods to his favorite treat -- a 300-year-old oak. when he embraces it, it fills him with love and warmth, he says. he is a happy man. he would not trade his solitary life in nature with anyone.
2:20am
>> but you do not have to live a life of deprivation to find leisure. on the contrary, many people probably equally share with entertainment. one of the traditional places to go to relax and escape from reality is the circus. one family in france is one of service performance. they call their show the gypsy service, and they combine traditional acrobatics with the bittersweet melancholic tunes of nomadic life. >> he begins the day with music and the bible. like many roma, he is a devout christian. >> the word of god brings peace to my heart. i believe god gives me strength and the talent to play.
2:21am
it was a gift from heaven. i never had any musical lessons in my life. never ever. >> the circus man's are parked at the edge of the city along the river that divides rich and poor. vasily is proud to belong to what is called the traveling full. this is the circus director, although he says titles mean little to him. decades ago, he found it an old school style traveling gypsy service. he uses the term gypsy, and if that is a provocation for some, he does not care. >> we are like the indians and the amazon or nomadic peoples. there are no less the world over, and everywhere, they have a bad reputation. everything is done to make nomads put roots down in one
2:22am
place. >> he says that is just what has harmed the roman people. the circus found many of its artists in city slums where most of his friends now live, and adopted them into an extended family. >> that is my wife's mother. on the right is her aunt. this one is a distant cousin, i think. and this is my daughter. that is the wonderful thing about gypsy families. the old people are not discriminated against. it is nothing like that. we all live together. >> the work in the service can be arduous. alexander checks to make sure the young artists are practicing. the children are the pride of the circus, an essential part of the extended family, which rejects any social strata.
2:23am
>> young people today are being led astray, told that fashion or sports or social advancement are most important. being bigger, younger, stronger. i do not see how those values can make people happy. >> the family manages to make ends meet. the service wanders through france all year long. only in the winter do they stay in one place. the artists love that they can decide spontaneously where and when they will perform. >> what counts for us is meeting people in the here and now. we are not thinking about tomorrow. >> the mixture of music and
2:24am
acrobatic stunts keeps audiences entranced, and it dos not matter if one part of the performance does not quite go to plan. >> they exudes such an immense love of life. it helps us all when times are hard. >> after you have been here, you take a different view of roebuck who are unemployed on the street. you see them as part of a people. >> this small circus has sparked a new way of thinking. for its audiences, the notion of gypsy life has become something to treasure.
2:25am
but weather you are swing around high up in a tent or singing in the choir here, there are many ways to find leisure, contemplation, and peace. hope you have found one for yourselves. thanks very much for joining us. tune in again at the same time next week if you can. until then, by for now and merry christmas.
2:26am
2:27am
2:28am
2:29am